Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen tests positive for COVID-19, says infection waning after 5 days
SINGAPORE: Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently recovering from the infection.
Dr Ng shared his experience in a Facebook post entitled “A personal encounter with COVID-19” on Tuesday (Feb 8).
“It’s been an interesting past few days, as a patient with COVID-19,” he said. “Sharing my experience, with the caveat that individual reactions vary widely.”
Dr Ng, 63, said he “expected that it would be a matter of time” before he contracted COVID-19, due to the contagious nature of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
“With the highly infectious Omicron causing the largest waves since the start of the pandemic in Singapore, it would be hard to avoid this variant, unless one became a recluse,” he said.
“The assurance was that having had two shots of the vaccine with the booster, serious illness could be avoided.”
Dr Ng took an antigen rapid test (ART) after learning that his grandchild had tested positive. The test “showed two lines”, indicating a COVID-19 infection. Dr Ng did not state the date of this first positive test.
SORE THROAT "MOST TROUBLESOME SYMPTOM"
Dr Ng went on to provide a day-by-day account of his experience in the post, describing symptoms including a fever, body aches and a sore throat.
On day one, his throat “felt raspy” after feeling “good and energetic” earlier in the day. While he initially did not have a fever, he developed one on the second day with a temperature of 38.5 degrees Celsius. The fever broke after treatment with paracetamol.
“Throat became sore, nasal passages more congested,” he said of his symptoms on day two. “Heavy head and myalgia set in, ah, the Omicron barbarians are at the gate and my immune soldiers – T and B cells must be mobilising, updating their enemy recognition software and releasing cytokines, chemokines and antibodies.”
Dr Ng said that his lungs were fine, with his pulse oximeter showing a reading of 98 per cent.
He began to feel better on day three, with his body aches and headache abating, though he continued to have a "low grade fever" with a temperature of about 37.5 degree Celsius.
"So it seems the first 24-48 hours are the worst, judging from the shared experience of family members," he said.
"Appetite wasn’t affected at all. I could certainly taste and smell."
Dr Ng noted that "the Omicron enemy seems to attack mainly my throat" and he described his sore throat as "the most troublesome symptom". It interrupted his sleep on day three and continued to be felt on day four.
As of the fifth day following his positive test, his infection is waning, he said.
“The positive line on my ART test today is now less intense – yah! I’m better with the infection waning, and none the worse for wear,” Dr Ng said.
“It could have turned out differently. If I got infected two years ago with the original strain, unprotected without vaccines, I would have feared for my life literally.”
Dr Ng said that he would follow the Ministry of Health’s Protocol 2 and work from home in the meantime.
"Met my Government Parliamentary Committee (Defence and Foreign Affairs) colleagues today via video conferencing and have a number of meetings lined up later this week," he said.
"Video conferencing has really enabled us to work remotely."
CNA has sought comment from the Ministry of Defence.
Last week, Members of Parliament Tan Kiat How and Eric Chua also tested positive for COVID-19.
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